Seeing promise in orphaned bath rugs
Staff Report -- Home Textiles Today, 8/11/2003 12:00:00 AM
NEW YORK —
At roughly $47 million in 2002 sales, bath rugs was perhaps the smallest Pillowtex product franchise, but a handful of other producers is working hard to find a way to call that business their own.
Dalton, GA-based Shaw Rugs entered the bath rug category in April when its parent, floor coverings giant Shaw, bought Georgia Tufters, the nation's fifth-largest bath rug supplier with $45 million in sales. And now it's eager to grow larger, said Jeff Meadows, division vp.
"I do think there is quite a lot of business now up for grabs, and there are some programs we are interested in getting," he said. "We're currently in the process of trying to gain some of that business."
And looking beyond bath rugs, Shaw is clearly eager to expand its product roster to become more of a "Shaw Home" in much the same way that rival carpet producer Mohawk has developed its powerhouse Mohawk Home nameplate.
Mohawk is clearly eager to grab some of the Pillowtex business for itself. David Record, product manager, bath, for Mohawk Home, Sugar Valley, GA, commented, "Pillowtex's bath rug business was relatively small — they had less than 10 percent of the total market share. Picking up that business won't be difficult, especially for the bigger guys like us and Springs, for example. Any of the top five players in this category can pick up pieces, but certainly the whole business won't go to just one player because it is scattered across several customers. And not every piece of business will get picked up. Some will just vanish. And that won't help the industry because it will mean we'll have less good competition out there."
Arnie Stevens, vp of Maples Rugs, Scottsboro, AL, said, "It creates a void in the marketplace, as far as bath rugs are concerned. We have picked up some programs because of this void, and we'll attempt to work with any retailers looking to replace these programs."
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